Day One AT

Well, I missed a posting. We spent last evening with friends, celebrating our anniversary and forgot about the time change. By the time I sat down last night to post, it was after midnight. At least I missed for an important reason- celebrating important moments in life with close friends!

Tomorrow is day one AT- after the test. Usually this marks the stretch where I can just close the door and do what I know is best, as the BIG ONE is finally behind us. This year, however, we have two more days of field testing- whatever that means- and a week of benchmark testing (district-written tests to get the kids ready for state-written tests). So that will total eight days of testing in March, eight days in which very little teaching and learning actually got accomplished. Go figure!

Because I still met with my kids for very brief classes during testing, and because the writing test is intense and unreliable, I don’t plan a directed lesson during those days. The long testing session wears me out and I’m not the one doing the thinking. So, this year, we watched Dead Poet’s Society during the time that was left each day. It has taken most of my classes two days to finish the movie and I still have two classes that need to finish the last forty-five minutes tomorrow and Tuesday, but I thought it would provide us with a good starting point for getting back to workshop. It feels like years to me since we’ve thought about anything but testing strategies, so I know the kids have lost the workshop mojo. Dead Poets is one of my all-time favs and every time I watch it, I find something more to think about with the kids. Tomorrow’s Quick Write prompt is going to be: What message can we take from the movie to change our class? How can we be more relevant? I can’t wait to see what they think. And I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish as readers and writers. This is why I teach, not for all the stipends the School Board can offer, or cut!

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2 responses to “Day One AT

  1. So glad that there are fabulous middle-school teachers out there like you who definitely think beyond the test. We are soon to enter the “vallley of the shadow of death” in testing at my school. The testing (not to mention the anxiety over results) can feel like it is draining the life out of you. Here’s to better weeks ahead!!

    • Imagine wine glasses clinking in a toast to better days!! We need to help each other find our way through that “valley of death” ( I like that better than March Madness- may I borrow it?) We have another week-long bout of standardized tests in May/June but it pales to the Writing atrocity in March! I also think that summer is so close by then that nothing can phase me!!
      Diane

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